Sustainability matters. I guess we can all agree on that. We are slowly turning towards a sustainable and ethical consumption movement, ranging from renewable energy, food, to transportation. However, to many people, fashion is the last thing they think of when it comes to adopting a more eco-friendly lifestyle. I know, because I was one of them. Until I came across an article with these frightening statistics about the fashion industry and the impact it has on our environment, did you know…
the average T-shirt uses 400 to 600 gallons of water to produce (that equals to 7 to 10 full bathtubs)
a pair of jeans uses 1,800 gallons of water (that's approximately 6,800 one-litre bottles)
the fashion industry uses 1,600 chemicals in their dyeing processes, only one percent of which have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency
a T-shirt can travel up to 3,500 km before it lands on a consumer's back
the apparel industry is responsible for 10% of the total carbon output for the entire world. That's 5 times more carbon output than airline travel combined.
These revealing numbers show that, while we have been paying for vegan food and electric cars, the environmental impact of fashion has been flying under the radar and not many people are aware of this.
The fashion world has numerous components and a supply chain that is interrelated with multiple other trades including design, agriculture, manufacture, marketing, retail, and recycling services. Its impact when it comes to the use of natural resources, pesticides, chemicals and manual labour is intense, and its effect on the environment is second only to the oil industry.
But it's not just the industry that's at fault; consumers play a part, too. It's estimated that we consume 400 percent more clothing today versus 20 years ago and the average garment is only worn seven times before it gets thrown out.
Researching and learning more about this topic blew my mind and has completely changed how I shop for clothes. I pay more attention to brands that support sustainable fashion, I do more research into a brand to see if they follow ethical practices to produce their items. And I'm so glad to discover that H&M, one of my favourite apparel brands, has been a pioneer in the sustainable fashion movement. They are the top buyer of organic cotton in the world, they have a worldwide clothing recycling program, and after the Rana Plaza Collapse in 2013, they quickly signed the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Safety. And most impressively, they even created an entire Conscious Collection that includes clothing that is made with ethical practices (fair wages, safe working conditions, ethically sourced material, etc).
H&M is doing more than any other mainstream fashion brands to be transparent, socially responsible and environmentally friendly, and I appreciate their effort by supporting them and buying items from their Conscious Collection. This summer, one of my must-have hair accessories is bandanas. I love how comfortable it feels and how it can make any outfit "pop" in an instant.
Are you going to make the switch to sustainable fashion?
In my next blog post, I will share with you all the tips you can start implementing right now to make a difference in how you buy and consume clothes more sustainably and eco-friendly!
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